/ Tennis

Andy Murray defeats Michael Llodra at US Open

Updated: Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 07:23 | Comments

Andy Murray serves at Flushing Meadows
Andy Murray serves at Flushing Meadows

Andy Murray was not happy about having to wait until Wednesday night to open defence of his US Open title but the Scot was quite pleased with the result after delivering a masterly thrashing of Michael Llodra.

Wimbledon champion Murray, whose starting time was further delayed after four hours of rain delays had stalled proceedings at Flushing Meadows, raced through an entertaining 6-2 6-4 6-3, 98-minute drubbing of the 49th-ranked Frenchman on centre court.

"The rallies were quick, sharp. Wasn't much time between points. He was playing quickly on his serves in between points," the third-seeded Scot rattled off like winners from his racquet.

"It was a fairly, I thought, high standard match. Lots of reactions and dropshots, and definitely tested my movement today. I thought I moved well. I didn't make too many errors.

"It was a solid match."

The world number three's only lapse on Arthur Ashe Stadium court was when he allowed the Frenchman to break his serve in the second game of the second set.

Murray, who made only five unforced errors, faced just two break points while converting a tidy five-of-seven to set up a second-round clash against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, a 7-6 (4) 6-4 3-6 7-6 (4) winner against Romania's Victor Hanescu.

The Briton put on a splendid show of athleticism, with his cat-like agility, timing at the net and piercing angles on his groundstrokes.

Llodra entertained with a 'hot dog' shot between his legs, an underarm serve, a juggling of the tennis ball with his feet and a futile tossing of his racquet into the air as Murray's soft, tantalising lob carried over him on match point.

Despite those good vibes, the 26-year-old from Dunblane still registered his disdain over waiting so long to join the fray in the last grand slam tournament of the season.

"I think playing at that time for your first round is not ideal," Murray said. "It's just not ideal.

"I don't know how many guys have played their first match at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday. You just want to get on the court and play."

Former champion Juan Martin del Potro survived a four-hour epic to defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to reach the second round while it was the end of the road for James Blake.

The 33-year-old American announced on Monday that this tournament would be his last, but it looked like his stay at Flushing Meadows would be extended when he took a two-set lead over qualifier Ivo Karlovic.

But the 6ft 10in Croatian fought back to level and, as the clock passed midnight, clinched a 6-7 (2/7) 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (7/2) victory on a deciding tie-break.

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